Everyone loves a good game. Games engage us and put us in a flow state that leads to a feelings of well-being. That’s why the gamification trend is on the rise, and will continue to trend upward. Games are a great way to engage customers, too, even if you’re in the B2B world. They’re also a great way to train staff and provide business insight.
What is gamification?
According to Forrester research, gamification can be defined as “the insertion of game dynamics and mechanics into non-game activities to drive a desired behavior.” In layman’s terms, gamification is making the boring aspects of life more fun by adding points systems, badges and other hallmarks of game playing. It’s a way to make often less-than-interesting aspects of business life more engaging for clients and employees alike.
If you’re still unsure of exactly what gamification might look like, Foursquare is a good example for consumers. This social platform essentially transforms the act of visiting new places into a game by allotting points whenever a user checks into a named location. You can unlock badges by visiting a certain number of locations in a similar category. For example, you can unlock a badge after visiting 10 different Mexican restaurants, or 10 different movie theaters. Whenever a user checks in, he or she receives points that allow friendly competition between users. While this platform is designed for consumers, it is an excellent model for the way gamification can be applied to training.
Using gamification to improve sales productivity
When training salespeople, you often have goals in mind that you would like them to reach before sending them out into the trenches. Gamification is a great way to help novice sales reps achieve these benchmarks. It’s a good idea to create metrics and other measurable goals for new salespeople. Every business does things a little bit differently, so things like CRM protocols can also be included. Naturally, measurable goals make it easy to implement a game. According to Bob Marsh for Salesforce blog, creating a leaderboard is a great way to engage new salespeople. Add a point system for each goal, and display the results in a public setting.
Displaying these outcomes in the open can help sales reps learn from each other; it also creates a culture of open communication. There is no shame at being at the bottom of the leaderboard in the context of a friendly game, but it may help the new hire see that they need to work on some key skills. You can also include more seasoned associates in the game.
Customer engagement and lead generation
According to David Kirkpatrick on Marketing Sherpa, B2B companies can use gamification just as well as B2C. Implementing a captivating game online is a great way to get users to get engaged on your company’s website, and it can be as simple as offering rewards for persisting in certain behaviors. As an example, Kirkpatrick notes how software company SAP made its online community more active by integrating game dynamics. The community message board was already very active and users would frequently answer one another’s inquiries. The company assigned the title of “expert” to certain users with a track record of responding frequently.
Adding gamification strategies can be a good way to find sales opportunities. Kirkpatrick recommends giving users a set of goals to reach. Once users download a white paper or watch a promotional video, you can have them take a quiz. Allow them to unlock expertise badges about your products. Once they reach a certain level, offer them some kind of reward.
You can also gamify normal social media posts. In an example cited by Corey Eridon on Hubspot, a business posted a statement on Facebook, requesting that users respond whether it was true or false. Out of the correct answers, the company randomly selected someone to win a gift card. The initiative ropes in prospective clients and keeps current ones engaged.
It’s a good idea to provide an incentive for people to play. While achieving the highest status, or the highest number of points can a good enough reward, shelling out for gifts can make the experience even better. Whether your reward is aimed at your own salespeople, or potential leads, chances are giving people a concrete reason to play your game will improve the outcome. For customers, offer early access to white papers and other content, or even a discounted rate.